Fen Diary Week 11

PUBLISHED: 12:19 16 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:39 28 May 2010

BRAKESPEARE S alignment with the thoughts of Councillor Geoff Harper, leader of Fenland District Council, can, for once, be attested to, notably over the uncertain future of the Standards Board of England. This pusillanimous body, so loathed by Cllr Harpe

BRAKESPEARE'S alignment with the thoughts of Councillor Geoff Harper, leader of Fenland District Council, can, for once, be attested to, notably over the uncertain future of the Standards Board of England.

This pusillanimous body, so loathed by Cllr Harper for its "expensive time-wasting bureaucracy and Soviet style of government", has now targeted South Holland District Council, one of the most gentile of local authorities.

And what heinous misdemeanour has been committed therein?

Step forward Councillor Jennifer Rowe, a member of Sutton Bridge Town Council for 20 years, its former chairman, and a member of South Holland District Council.

Her crime? She forgot to update a register of members' interest to say she had left her job at Long Sutton Butterfly Park.

An inquiry has ruled it was "an oversight," even the complainant agreed she had "not used the situation to her own or anyone's else's advantage" but he claimed she had brought the council into disrepute "because councillors were supposed to be truthful".

The purgatory continues, for a special "panel of the standards committee" has been convened for Tuesday to make a final decision.

You couldn't, as they say, make it up.

A DISDAINFUL glimpse of the local election scene in the Midlands was afforded Brakespeare this week when he viewed the British National Party website.

"Under the grey open skies of Lincolnshire fenland, a small army of farm labourers can be seen busy at work," begins their latest offering.

Romanticism of a bygone England is soon forgotten as the writer paints an inaccurate and malevolent picture of migrant workers near Spalding picking daffodils, allegedly working on a pittance, and allegedly taking seasonal jobs normally afforded to "drivers, health workers and local tradesmen in the local community who wanted to top up their normal wages during the spring harvest".

Such is the "knowledge" of the author that he is able to tell us the surrounding road was packed with some 300 cars "many of which were untaxed".

Brakespeare can only hope the forthcoming elections in Fenland remain unsullied by such errant and mischievous reporting.

I ONLY hope the avuncular cabinet member of Fenland District Council doesn't repeat too loudly, as he did to me, his admiration for Francis Pym, the former Tory MP.

For was it not Mr Pym, later to become Lord Pym, who 24 years ago pointed out the need for a modesty majority in the forthcoming election?

Surely my man in the cabinet could not be considering the proposition of a reduced majority for the Tories in May's local elections to be a good thing?

A POIGNANT e-mail from Ibiza arrived this week, recalling the time when March publicans Mick and Trish Smith ran a bar there, called Grumpy's, from the 1970s until the mid 1990s.

Lynette Dickinson read on the Cambs Times website about Mick's sudden death, and says the whole community was shocked by the news.

"They were a very popular couple and we were all one big family," writes Lynette. "We wish Trish well and send our love and best wishes. The island mourns for you Mick."

As regulars of the Acre well know, he will be a hard act to follow.

HE sounds a most splendid chap - and his invitation to a 'Tot Commiseration Day' sounds just the sort of occasion for which Brakespeare was born to attend.

Not, as might be construed, sulky adults bemoaning the growing up of their offspring, but a celebration of the original tot, the rum ration discontinued by the Royal Navy 37 years ago.

Ted Rasell from the Royal Navy Association's March branch tells me they are celebrating with a tongue in cheek day of mourning this summer, and Brakespeare's constitution is now in training for this spiffing piece of Fenland nonsense.

COLLEAGUES have threatened anatomically improbable injuries should I divulge her name, but be assured Brakespeare does have the name of the head teacher driving through March this week busily chatting away on her mobile phone!

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